Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Westminster Project, continued. . .

The blocks are fused and the satin stitching complete. Prior to this project, I did not have much experience at satin stitching. I can most definitely see that my last blocks are much better than my first. The stitching is smoother around rounded edges and crisper at corners. I thought about taking the stitching out of some of the first blocks I made, but, trust me, that was a fleeting thought that I batted away much like one bats flies away from a picnic feast. What the worst and most tedious part of the Westminster Project (so far) was tearing away all of the stabilizer. I had stabilizer shrapnel scattered all over my sewing room. And before long there was stabilizer all over the house because it hitchhiked on my dog, Daisy, who likes to hang out in my sewing room. Next step: assembling the alternate blocks.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The "Westminster Project"

And now on to the "Westminster Project". This quilt, which for lack of a better name at this point in time, has been dubbed the "Westminster Project" because the lead fabric and several other fabrics are manufactured by Westminster Fabrics. If that name doesn't ring a bell, then just think of fabric designer Kaffe Fassett, one of their lead designers, and the designer of the lead fabric I'm using.

So . . . the quilt's designed--thank you Electric Quilt Company. The lead fabric chosen, along with a stack of potential running mates. don't they look yummy together?

Now for the next task. The pattern I've designed has a whimsical applique flower block that I plan to fuse and then satin stitch with threads from my bountiful thread stash. I grabbed one of my many rubber trays and pulled practically every thread that I thought would work. Now, how to decide. I don't want my trial and error to take place on my beautifully fused blocks. No, no, no, that will just not do.

Due to some personality defect implanted within me at birth, I realize that I must approach the task of thread selection in a rational, logical, and planned manner. (Oh, how I do hope there are some of you out there with this same condition. For those of you who can throw caution to the wind and just jump right in, I applaud and greatly envy you.) So here's what I did. First I sewed together a piece of my background fabric, a deep burgundy, and a piece of light green scrap fabric left over from the Sunflower quilts. Then I did a test satin stitch of each thread on the background fabric and wrote the name and color of the thread next to it on the light colored fabric. Very systematically organized--very planned--very logical. Time consuming, yes, but I should be able to avoid any gross color errors which would lead to--gulp--ripping out. And obviously, I had so many threads that I had to do two swatch pieces.

So, what of all this test sewing and satin stitching and overly compulsive behavior? Here's how I proceeded. When I needed to satin stitch around a fabric, a pulled the fabric from the stack and folded the test stitch swatch next to it in order to see which thread looked best. In the example in the photo, the fabric is a blue green mottled fabric. What thread choice would you make?

Okay, I've made my choice and picked one. . . I think. I'm off to sew. Satin stitching is not my forte, but a girl has to learn sometime.

There's a time to quilt and a time to dye, and yesterday was a dyeing day. The "Westminster Project" (sounds like a band name from the 70s, doesn't it?) pretty much cleaned me out of green hand dyed fabric. And since I have a trunk show next week, I thought it a good time to dye fabric for myself and collectors of hand dyed fabric. I dyed well over 50 yards of fabric. YIKES, what was I thinking?! The dyeing is rather fun. It's the washing and pressing and trimming that's work. But here's just some of the evidence of my hard work.